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Judge Robinson finds Intellectual Ventures’ TCP/IP patent claims patentable under 35 U.S.C. § 101

Applying the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. v. CLS Bank Int’l, 134 S. Ct. 2347 (2014), Judge Robinson granted-in-part and denied-in-part defendant Motorola’s summary judgment motion regarding whether Intellectual Ventures’ patents claim inventive subject matter.  Intellectual Ventures I, LLC, et al. v. Motorola Mobility LLC, C.A. No. 11-908-SLR (D. Del. Feb. 24, 2015).  Judge Robinson noted that under current case law “it is clear that computer-based programming constitutes patentable subject matter so long as the basic requirements of § 101 are met[.]”  Id. at 10 (internal quotation omitted).  But, the application of the law to “this area of technology ha[s] been a moving target[.]”  Id. Quoting the Federal Circuit’s recent DDR Holdings decision, Judge Robinson noted that to overcome “Internet-centric” challenges to patent eligibility, the claims must do more than:

recite a commonplace business method aimed at processing business information, applying a known business process to the particular technological environment of the Internet, or creating or altering contractual relations using generic computer functions and conventional network operations, such as the claims in Alice, Ultramercial, buySAFE, Accenture, and Bancorp. 10-11 (quoting DDR Holdings, LLC v. Hotels.Com, L.P., 773 F.3d 1245, 1259 (Fed. Cir. 2014).  Applying this analytical framework, Judge Robinson found that the asserted claims of Intellectual Ventures’ U.S. Patent No. 6,557,054, titled “Method and System for Distributing Updates by Presenting Directory of Software Available for User Installation That Is Not Already Installed on User Station,” invalid under § 101.  Judge Robinson found, however, that the asserted claims of U.S. Patent No. 7,409,450,  titled “Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) Packet-Centric Wireless Point to Multi-Point (PTMP) Transmission System Architecture,” were drawn to patentable subject matter.  Id. at 13-22.

The claims at issue were:

‘054 Patent

181. A computer implemented method for distributing software updates from a remote computer system to a user station, the method comprising:

presenting, at the user station, as a function of an identification of software already installed on the user station, a directory of software updates available for installation on the user station and not already installed on the user station;

sending to the remote computer system over a communications network a selection of software updates for distribution to the user station, wherein the selection of software updates is selected at the user station as a function of the directory; and

receiving from the remote computer system over the communications network software updates indicated by the selection.

 ‘450 Patent

1 . A method comprising:

coupling one or more subscriber customer premise equipment (CPE) stations with a base station over a shared wireless bandwidth using a packet-centric protocol; and allocating said wireless bandwidth and system resources based on contents of packets to be communicated over said wireless bandwidth, wherein the contents of each packet include a packet header and wherein the allocating is responsive to at least one field in the packet header.

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